The Fondation Leducq invests $6 million in the research project
MONTREAL, Dec. 12, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - How does PCSK9 function and what
is the impact of this protein on cardiovascular disease? A research
team coordinated by Dr. Nabil G. Seidah, researcher at the IRCM, has
been formed to answer this question. The Fondation Leducq is supporting
this transatlantic project by investing $6 million over five years.
Dr. Seidah is a pioneer in the field of research on PCSK9, the ninth
member of the proprotein convertase family that was discovered in his
laboratory. In 2003, his team, in collaboration with French
researchers, discovered that PCSK9 plays a key role in regulating
cholesterol. This was one of the most exciting developments in
cardiovascular research in the last decade.
"We now know that PCSK9 regulates bad cholesterol, known as
LDL-cholesterol," explains Dr. Seidah, Director of the Biochemical
Neuroendocrinology research unit at the IRCM. "We believe that
inhibiting the function of PCSK9 can lower LDL-cholesterol levels.
Clinical trials are currently underway to test PCSK9-inhibitors that
could eventually supplement or even replace statins, the most
prescribed cholesterol-lowering drug."
"However, we still do not understand exactly how PSCK9 functions," says
Dr. Seidah. "How does this protein act and what are the risks
associated to its inhibition? These are questions our research team
will attempt to answer, which is precisely why the Fondation Leducq
decided to support our project. In fact, we will focus on the
understanding of this protein's biology and its role in
hypercholesterolemia and cardiovascular disease."
To tackle this issue, Dr. Seidah assembled an international,
multidisciplinary team of experts. The researchers will address many of
the current knowledge gaps surrounding PCSK9 biology. This
collaboration between scientists with an extensive track record in the
study of PCSK9 represents a true working synergy between existing
successful laboratories that will result in the integration of a
critical mass of knowledge for the benefit of patients and society.
"By combining state-of-the-art technologies and extensive clinical
expertise, the research team will define the functions and
physiological roles of PCSK9 in relation to risk, manifestations and
management of cardiovascular disease," adds Dr. Seidah.
"The knowledge generated by this project will have an immense impact on
the understanding and treatment of cardiovascular disease, and will be
highly valuable to develop new therapeutic approaches," says Dr. David
Tancredi, Fondation Leducq's Scientific Director. "The Fondation Leducq
is therefore proud to support this project and participate, along with
this team of experienced researchers, in the advancement of knowledge
in this field."
According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disease is
the single leading cause of death worldwide, with annual deaths
expected to reach 23.3 million by 2030.
About the team
The team includes 16 basic and clinical scientists from six institutions
in Canada, France and Sweden. They are keenly interested in PCSK9 and
possess a unique array of complementary expertise in cardiovascular and
population epidemiology, cardiovascular and metabolic phenotyping,
genetics, molecular and cell biology, protein and medicinal chemistry,
mass spectrometry and proteomics, generation and phenotyping of animal
models, pathophysiology and translational research.
About Nabil G. Seidah
Nabil G. Seidah obtained his PhD in chemistry from Georgetown University
in Washington, DC (USA). He is a Full IRCM Research Professor, Director
of the Biochemical Neuroendocrinology research unit, and Director of
the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases research division at the
IRCM. Dr. Seidah is a full research professor in the Department of
Medicine (accreditation in the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
departments) at the Université de Montréal. He is also Adjunct
Professor in the Department of Medicine (Division of Experimental
Medicine) at McGill University. He holds a Canada Research Chair in
Precursor Proteolysis. In addition to receiving the 2011
Wilder-Penfield Prix du Québec, Dr. Seidah is also a Member of the
Order of Canada, Officer of the Ordre national du Québec, and Fellow of
the Royal Society of Canada. For more information, visit www.ircm.qc.ca/seidah.
About the IRCM
Founded in 1967, the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (www.ircm.qc.ca) is currently comprised of 36 research units in various fields, namely
immunity and viral infections, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases,
cancer, neurobiology and development, systems biology and medicinal
chemistry. It also houses four specialized research clinics, eight core
facilities and three research platforms with state-of-the-art
equipment. The IRCM employs 425 people and is an independent
institution affiliated with the Université de Montréal. The IRCM Clinic
is associated to the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal
(CHUM). The IRCM also maintains a long-standing association with McGill
University. The IRCM is funded by the Quebec ministry of Higher
Education, Research, Science and Technology.
About the Fondation Leducq
The Fondation Leducq's (http://fondationleducq.org) mission is to improve human health through international efforts to
combat cardiovascular and neurovascular disease. It promotes innovative
research by forging scientific alliances that transcend national
borders and promoting the education of young researchers who thrive in
an international context. According to the Fondation Leducq, only an
efficient use of research resources and the development of long-term
collaborative relationships will allow us to continue to meet the
challenge of cardiovascular and neurovascular disease in the future.
SOURCE: Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM)
For further information:
For more information and to schedule an interview with Dr. Seidah, please contact:
Communications Officer (IRCM)
Communications Director (IRCM)